Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 supported by Rep. Paul Cook
Yucaipa’s U.S. Congressman Paul Cook (R-8th District-Apple Valley) has voted in support of S. 114, the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017.
Originally enacted in 2014, the Veterans Choice Program allowed veterans to receive health care from private care facilities rather than VA hospitals. The legislation was backed by $10 billion to provide care for veterans at private medical facilities and was originally scheduled to expire in August of this year. Earlier this year, Congress and President Trump eliminated the program’s expiration date so veterans could continue to receive private care.
The new legislation provides an additional $2.1 billion in funding to extend the program for approximately six more months thereby ensuring that veterans benefiting from this program will have continuity of care. The bill also authorizes 28 major medical facility leases including one in northern California. The bill addresses several human resource matters including the enhancement in the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce; a requirement for the VA to conduct an annual performance plan for political appointees; and, the development of a plan to hire highly qualified directors for medical centers that have not had permanent leadership.
“The VA Choice Act has been crucial for helping our veterans get the care they deserve,” said Rep. Cook. “This legislation will ensure that we continue funding this important program which provides our nation’s heroes with timely medical care rather than enduring long wait times at the VA.”
S.114 passed the House with overwhelming, bipartisan support on a vote of 414-0 (19 Representatives were non-voting). The U.S. Senate previously passed this bill in May of this year.
Rep. Cook is a member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. In addition to the District office in Apple Valley, Rep. Cook also maintains an office in Yucaipa at 34282 Yucaipa Boulevard. The Yucaipa office can be reached at 909-797-4900.